Microsoft appears to have prematurely answered the question of when we'll all have our hands on the final pre-release version of Windows 7.
According to a unscheduled and since-removed page on Microsoft TechNet, the Windows 7 Release Candidate will be made available in May 2009. That's slightly later than the rumoured April time frame, but still soon enough to suggest that Windows 7 is, in theory, on track for a retail launch before the end of the year.
Microsoft's TechNet page, viewable in full below, provides a handful of other useful information. It states that that the Windows 7 Release Candidate won't be available to a limited number of users - as was originally the case with the Windows 7 Beta - and that it'll be readily available to download throughout June and perhaps later.
Curiously, Microsoft states that the Release Candidate will not expire until June 2010, effectively providing a year's free use of the software. That date also implies that the final product will of course be available in advance of June 2010, allowing users to upgrade to a final working version.
The timing fits, we reckon, as those who've recently been stung by an updated Windows Genuine Advantage can soon upgrade to Windows 7 Release Candidate for free.